Sample of developing a comprehensive outline:
I. Text chosen: “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor
II. Starting Quote: reaction to description of the grandmother as they start the trip: “In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once she was a lady.” Also, the grandmother cautioning Bailey to follow the speed limit because “patrolmen hid themselves behind billboards and small clumps of trees and sped out after you before you had a chance to slow down.”
III. Ideas: accident and possibility of death prefigure the actual accident at the end, and also the idea of death, thought he deaths at the end are not accidental; danger lurking behind trees; when they turn off the main road to visit the house with the secret panel, they were either on the top of hills looking down “over the blue tops of trees for miles around” or they were in valleys “with the dust-coated trees looking down on them.” After the accident, they were below the road level and could only see the tops of trees and “behind the ditch they were sitting in there were more woods, tall and dark and deep.” It is at this point that the Misfit and his co-escapees emerge in a “hearse-like automobile.”
Thesis: Flannery O’Connor uses the image of trees and the forest to convey the dangers that lurk outside the safe confines of one’s home. In doing this, she stresses the dichotomy between the safety of home and the dangers of the outside world.
I. In the opening scenes of the story, O’Connor stresses the safety and security of the home.
a. The story begins with the family gathered together in a single room in the house. A sense of security arises from them all being together inside doing typical activities.
i. Stress is on simple family matters: mother feeding the baby, John Wesley and June Star sit on the floor reading the funnies, Bailey sits at the table reading the sports section of the paper
ii. Although the newspaper seems like a benign form of entertainment (funnies and sports), it serves as a messenger of the dangers present outside the home (story of the Misfit)
iii. John Wesley and June Starr both have hyperbolic courage in the face of danger beyond their family circle. Security of the family.
II. Leaving home is a movement from safety to potential danger.
i. The grandmother dresses with the idea of a potential accident and death in mind (description of her clothing)
ii. Initially, the car seems like a mobile version of the home: they are together in safety.
iii. As they leave Atlanta, the first thing the grandmother does is stress the potential danger lurking behind the trees: quote about patrolmen lurking there to speed out and…